Learning from Seymour Sarason
- M. Levine, N. D. Repucci, R. S. Weinstein
Recently I have been holding my own personal Seymour Sarason writer's festival, reading Sarason books that I should have read years ago, and re-reading some that I read back then but did not appreciate their value deeply enough. So when the chance came to review a new Sarason volume, I agreed despite having many competing commitments. I'm glad I did so, because this volume has helped me conceptualize new approaches to the problems those other commitments raise. First a word on the title. Psychoanalysis, General Custer and the Verdicts of History is the title of the first essay, a critique of recent historical research on Freud and on the impact of psychoanalysis in the U.S. However, the last part of that title and the book's subtitle reveal more of the content of this diverse collections of essays. Try reading the title as The Verdicts of History and Other Essays on Psychology and the Social Scene. Not as eyecatching, I agree. Yet for those of us interested in prevention and in community psychology, the most important theme of this volume is contained there. That theme is the relationship between society and psychology in the United States, and how psychologists' lack of recognition of that relationship will bear witness against us when the history of 20th century psychology, at least in the U.S., is written. Admittedly, Sarason has written before on this theme (especially Sarason, 1978), but seldom so explicitly as he has in this volume. What does Sarason's newest volume suggest for the field of prevention, especially since that field or term rarely appears in its pages?